February 12, 2011

Pujols nowhere near close to signing

The St. Louis Cardinals have loaded up their roster over the winter, adding major league veterans like Lance Berkman, Ryan Theriot, Gerald Laird, and even a former Redbirds star, Jim Edmonds. And although Albert Pujols will be wearing a jersey with two birds on the bat this season, there now seems to be little chance he will reach an agreement with the Cardinals’ organization prior to Spring Training regarding his upcoming contract renewal.

Pujols himself has set a negotiation deadline of February 15th. The Cardinals start Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida on February 16th. If Pujols and the Cards cannot ink a deal by then, Pujols stresses there will be no further negotiation until season’s end.

Pujols could become a free agent at that time, creating a potentially untenable situation for Cardinals’ management, who would likely have to compete with the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox in a bidding war. And there’s little doubt Cardinal Nation is anxious for a deal that would keep Pujols in St. Louis for the rest of his major league career.

Pujols could go coastal if the Cardinals cannot tender an offer to his liking, adding the Mets in the east and Angels to the west. There could even be offers from the Rangers and the Royals, not to mention NL Central rivals, the Cubs.

Teammate Matt Holliday stated recently he would be willing defer more of his salary if that would help close the deal for Pujols.